Outdoor Focus Spring 2019 - Page 11

Ode to Cadair Bronwen NE Top 1989 to 2007 Some of us always thought you were An insignificant bump But for a few years you shone with the glory Of being a Nuttall Now, once more, you are nothing At all So it was with sadness that we climbed a mountain But descended a hill Jim Bloomer, Graham Jackson and John Barnard on Miller Moss of patience is needed since the equipment that can measure heights with an accuracy measured in millimetres is done electronically using a device that links to the Ordnance Survey ground station radio network. We think of radio waves going in mathematically straight line, but radio waves get bent by the ionosphere, so they need continuous readings over two hours to obtain the greatest accuracy. Fortunately we had a beautiful morning when, in August, we met John and Graham at the end of the road from Mosedale in the northern Lake District, where we found a signpost stating simply ‘Miller Moss’. The first measurement of the day though was not a mountain, but rain. Here we encountered a man with a mission. He told us he was from the Environment Agency and his job was to visit rain gauges every month. After the driest summer for decades we ventured to suggest his visit was a waste of time. ‘Let’s have a look’, he said and we followed him up the Cumbria Way. Soon he stopped and started to unscrew the gauge then, to our surprise, a huge volume of water poured out. No drought problems then with these Northern Fells. We plodded on up the fellside and soon arrived at the garden shed, a welcome rest stop in bad weather. ‘I’m doing the Cumbria Way in three days for charity’, said its occupant. Now it was only a short climb to Miller Moss. John and Graham and their friend Jim Bloomer started to set up the kit. The device that measures altitude was erected. Obviously the summit was over two thousand feet, but the OS would expect the exact height to be measured. Then they also needed to survey the amount the summit rises above the adjoining cols. The method Anne and I used thirty years ago was a builder’s spirit level. Starting from the col we sighted along the spirit level then walked to the spot just noted, then repeating until we reached the top. We used me as the surveying pole. Now it’s more accurate with an Avery Automatic Level rather than Anne calling ‘Up a bit. That’s it’ Actually our primitive method was remarkably accurate. It’s only if a metre either way really matters that real precision is needed or for official approval from the OS. We got the official results a few days later. And that’s when the media frenzy started. Suddenly Miller Moss was famous. The best coverage was from ITV. ‘Can you be on Miller Moss this afternoon?’ they asked, but we were looking after grandchildren. No chance, so they sent a camera and presenter to the summit anyway. It’s a classic piece. The presenter fell in a bog, the rain was torrential, the poor man got soaking wet, but the landlady of the nearest pub to which he retired said how pleased she was and hoped to see many more walkers visiting the area. So, go on then, visit Miller Moss, it’ll do something for local business and maybe you too might discover the delights of becoming a member of a select band who can say ‘I’ve climbed every mountain in England and Wales’. Do let us know your progress and when you’ve completed your name can be added to our list on www.nuttalls.com spring 2019 | Outdoor focus 11